Here at BoTCom, we’re about to turn full circle. The Best of Tauranga website began life as the ‘insider’s’ guide book by the same name. Now we’re launching a new ‘hard copy’ publication – our own Tauranga 2010 Calendar, which homes in on the Bay’s great outdoors. Some of the pictures were generously provided by top local outdoor photographers Bob Tulloch and Andy Belcher, who’ve spent years capturing the many moods of our different landscapes and people. Local councils also provided some of their best photos. We haven’t attempted to achieve blanket coverage of the Western Bay – because we simply haven’t got a 20-page (and month) calendar! We’ve selected photos that really grabbed us, many of them depicting things happening on, or near the water - sea, lake or river. We hope they grab you too. This glossy calendar will be in local book stores soon, and we hope you’ll support a production that’s 100% local. (It’s also being sold at a ‘recession-proof’ price).
In Spotlight, our message is don’t get piste off (sorry) at the cost of skiing, when some of the best skiing in Australasia is just a few hours drive from Tauranga. The best of the winter’s skiing lies ahead for Ruapehu. In Six Good Reasons to Ski Ruapehu, we serve up a few tips on how to get the best bang for your buck from ‘local’ skiing.
If your tastes are a little more sedate, we focus on the best of Tauranga hot pools that are handy to town. We have all the details of what they offer and what you’ll pay, etc.
And what goes into making a really good cup of coffee? We ask people who know at Grindz, just named Bay of Plenty’s Best Cafe.
Also, we’ve snapped some pics of Tauranga’s new ‘space’ to experience experimental contemporary art – the Laundromat Art Project Space in Second Ave.
Most Improved: The well known holiday park at the base of the Mount (Mauao) – visited by Kiwis over the generations – has picked up an award. The Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park has scooped up the Qualmark & THL Award - for the holiday park which showed the most improvement in their Qualmark assessments. In December last year, the Park achieved a 4-star grading from Qualmark. Tauranga Council says the jump from a 2.5-star rating to the 4-star grading was a ‘superb achievement.’
Three Bay of Plenty holiday parks made it into the finalists for the 2009 AA Spirit of Hospitality Awards. The three were: Waihi Beach Top Ten, Holiday Park and the Bowentown Beach Holiday Park, along with Thornton Beach Holiday Park near Whakatane. The finalists were selected from comment cards sent in by guests.
Interior design blogger Claire Jackson has lavished praise on Hart Lodge, located off Pyes Pa Road, as a ‘divine retreat.’ Hart Lodge is a luxury boutique lodge, which is part of the International Select Group of Hotels & Resorts. Claire Jackson says it’s recently been completely refurbished in a ‘perfect fusion of classical & contemporary interior design.’ The Hart is described as the perfect retreat for romantic vacations, special occasions & celebrations, and weekend retreats. ‘It is evident in all aspects of services, facilities & design that the owners, Julie & Graham Raw, have given utmost consideration to creating the ultimate experience of pampering & comfort...’ www.thehartlodge.com
‘The Island of Dark Crystal’: New Zealand Herald travel editor Jim Eagles, a former editor of the Bay of Plenty Times, has written eloquently about the attractions of Mayor Island(Tuhua), famous for its volcanic obsidian, used for tools by early Maori. Jim Eagles article tips the fact that improvements to the island’s dodgy accommodation may be on the way:
“When the Tauranga Gamefishing Club had a famous base on leased land at Opo Bay there was a constant parade of boats. But since the club moved to a new base on the mainland the island has not been an easy place to get to. There is no jetty and though the buildings used by the club still stand beside the shore at Opo Bay they are mostly dilapidated and due to be removed later this year.
A few cabins are habitable - just - and accommodate an occasional caretaker from Te Whanau o Tauwhao and students from Bay of Plenty Polytechnic's marine studies course who monitor the marine reserve.
The iwi is discussing plans to build a marae on one of the more accessible pa sites to provide somewhere for visitors to stay. For the time being, though, the only people who come here are a few boaties, who are allowed to land if they pay a $5 fee to the caretaker, and passengers on the helicopter trips which Aerius Helicopters has been running since the iwi granted Shane exclusive landing rights earlier this year.
These flights are a great way to see Tuhua, partly because the journey takes only 15 minutes, but also because it provides a wonderful view of the island and, along the way, Tauranga Harbour, its entrance guarded by Mauao (the Mount) and other islands beyond.”
Tauranga Poo-Poos Rotorua: Tourism Bay of Plenty has made headlines round the world for what could be called toilet humour – a risqué campaign targeting Rotovegas, aka Rotorua (well, why not? Ed). Here’s what The Australian newspaper wrote:
A KIWI city has caused a stink with an edgy marketing campaign in toilets that poo-poos the famously smelly tourist town of Rotorua.
Tauranga, on the east coast of the North Island, has grabbed headlines by poking fun at nearby Rotorua, which smells like rotten eggs but still manages to attract thousands of tourists annually to enjoy its thermal hot pools and geysers.
The neighbouring city has placed ads in toilets around New Zealand with slogans like "Smell like Rotorua in here?'' and "Tired of the same boring shit?''.
The campaign was designed to be "cheeky and irreverent'' and play up to their toilet-door location, Tauranga's marketing chief Tim Burgess told the Herald on Sunday newspaper.
"It's no secret that there's a sulphurous smell in Rotorua and it just seemed to be a nice fit,'' he said.
Rotorua's marketing team said that while their competition was "resorting to toilet humour'' it was all good fun.”It's what's distinctive about Rotorua - and it probably smells a hell of a lot worse in some of those toilets.''
The smelly city is used to sending itself up. On April Fool's Day, it claimed Playboy founder Hugh Hefner was moving there after reading scientific reports that the hydrogen sulphide in the air improved sex drive.
Cyclists...is there a ride in the region that could possibly compare with any stages of the Tour de France? Yes, according to the organisers of the RoadCraft k2 cycle race, run at the end of October through the Coromandel hills. The organisers, ARC, have compared the Tour’s gruelling climb up Mont Ventoux with the local ride. The final French climb covers a distance of 21.8km and climbs a total of 1,617m, an average gradient of 7.42%. However ARC says the Coromandel Hills 7 climbs cover 23.4 km, an average gradient of 7.5%, climbing 1,757m. The K2 is longer, steeper and higher than the Tours toughest climb. Feel your legs hurting?
Matthew Marshall, one of New Zealand’s leading guitarists and versatile musicians performs solo guitar with electronics in a ‘dazzling display of virtuosic pyrotechnics.’ Matthew performs in a variety of musical genres, from solo classical to orchestral to jazz to rock to contemporary avant-garde. Venue: Tauranga Art Gallery, Wednesday 5 August, 8 pm. Tickets $25.
Otumoetai College PTA Book-A-Rama
This is one of the major fundraisers for the College, which has been going for many years. Great selection of books, magazines, etc across all categories available. Venue: Baycourt Exhibition Space, Friday 7 August, Saturday 8 August. Contact 576 2316.
Tauranga Embroiders' Guild Annual Exhibition
Fantasia theme with around 250 items on show. Promotes the art of embroidery and allows members to display a wide variety of techniques and designs. Hand- made gifts for sale. Venue: Baycourt Theatre Exhibition Space, Wednesday August 12 to Sunday August 16, 9.30 to 4 pm. www.baycourt.co.nz, Contact Linda Inglis, 544 2818
Hotel California - The Eagles Experience
Six multi-talented musicians present a faithful re-creation of The Eagles' timeless hits, in a show that salutes the talent and musicianship of the original members. Adults $49, child under 16 $29, Groups 6-plus $44. Venue: Baycourt Community Theatre, Thursday 13 August, 8 pm to 10.30 pm.
Expat Kiwis The Pioneers have wowed audiences in Britain with their multi-media portrayal of their ancestors’ journeys to New Zealand. Using original acoustic music, texts by leading NZ poets, story-telling and character portrayal, the show tells the stories of three of their ancestors who travelled from England and Ireland to a different NZ than the one they’d imagined. Venue: Tauranga Art Gallery, Cnr Wharf & Willow Streets, August 13, 8 pm. www.artgallery.org.nz
Arms and Militaria Show
For military enthusiasts and collectors...militaria, edged weapons, collectable and modern, sporting and military firearms, shooting accessories, books, medals, uniforms. Sales tables and displays. Venue Greerton Hall, Saturday 15th August, Sunday 16th August, $5 week day, $7 weekend. Children free if accompanied. Tel 573 6640
Tarnished Frocks & Divas -Revamped Retro & Performing Art
A ‘Frockumentary of Divas Through the Decades.’ TF & D is a show with a difference. The Tarnished Frocks part is an exhibition and parade of retro clothing, re-worked into a contemporary style. The divas are singers, dancers and musicians. This is a collaborative effort of a group of artistic women and supported by Creative Tauranga. Venue: Baycourt Community Theatre Thursday 20 August to Sat 22 August, 7 pm, www.tfandd.co.nz
Stew from Matamata, and Vishaka from Auckland have won a ticket each for the rip roaring Kaituna Jet boat ride at Spring Loaded Fun Park, Paengaroa.
Hot off the press, four Best of Tauranga 2010 Calendars will go out to readers. The Tauranga 2010 Calendar, as we’ve hinted, has a strong water theme, featuring surf, the harbour, a local lake and a waterfall – and some of the water activities we’re famous for. We are also giving away a $50 gift basket from McGregors Wholesale Liquor - Wine and Gift Basket Specialists
Tauranga people struggle with spelling:
2 Sets Of Ski's With Polls (Tauranga ad on Trademe)
Winston said he and New Zealand First were dealt a ‘fowl blow’ during the 2008 election campaign. (Sunlive report)